The Day You Discard Your Body
Chapter 14 - The day you discard your body
by Marshall Brain


Given a choice between being in your virtual body and your real body, you will choose your virtual body every time. Therefore, your biological body will become irrelevant.

At the same time, technology will be advancing. A variety of research efforts will be creating the ability to house your brain just your brain in a small container that will keep it in perfect environmental conditions. A number of companies will be advertising Brain Storage Facilities, where your brain and thousands of others are stored in hardened steel and concrete buildings that are impervious to bombs, earthquakes, hurricanes and so on.

The biggest advantage of these Brain Storage Facilities will be the elimination of the risk factors that go with your biological body. Your body contains dozens of organ systems that are all unneeded by your brain. However, those systems are all prone to disease and failure. For example, a blood vessel in your heart can clog or burst, killing your heart. Approximately three minutes later, your brain dies. Your lungs can also suffer from clogged and ruptured blood vessels, and your lungs are easy to infect with hundreds of diseases as well as cancer. There is also the fact that something as simple as falling down the steps in your biological body can terminate your brain. By removing your brain from your body, all of these risk factors vanish.

The largest benefit of these Brain Storage Facilities will be the promise of increased longevity. The facility will provide your brain with the blood, oxygen and nutrients that it needs to thrive. By monitoring these variables closely, and by eliminating all of the physical and hormonal shocks that come from a normal biological body, your brain will be able to survive far longer than it ever would inside a biological body.

For all of these reasons, you will make the decision to discard your body. All of your friends will be doing it -- it will be the "normal" thing to do. You will choose a Brain Storage Facility and sign up for life-long care. With the decision made, you will have once last trip to make in your biological body.

Leaving your body

photo by Jack Schiffer
Connecting your brain to your biological body will be perceptibly uncomfortable at this point. You will be so accustomed to the perfection of virtual living that all of the problems of real-world existence will be quite unpleasant. Once you reconnect to your biological body, you will have to look in your closet and pick out real clothing made from real textiles. The selection will be very limited compared to the infinite possibilities in the virtual world. Real clothes will look silly compared to the perfectly tailored clothing you are used to, and they will be remarkably out of date compared to the up-to-the minute fashions available in the virtual world. You will have to put on socks, and then clucky, real-world shoes. You will do that with the knowledge that your real-world feet will soon be hot and stinky, and it will remind you that you need to put on antiperspirant and cologne to mask the odors of your biological body.

You will also feel signals from your body that are unfamiliar to you in the virtual world. For example, the need to eliminate waste will be signaled to your brain by your bladder and large intestines. The whole idea of going to the restroom, using toilet paper and smelling your waste products will be repugnant, but your biological body leaves you no other option. You will feel drafts. Your feet will get blisters. You will feel itching - something that never happens with your virtual body. Your vision and hearing will be far less crisp and precise as they are in the virtual world. When you knock against things, you will feel pain.

Then you will walk downstairs to participate in the most absurd part of real-world life -- physical travel. The ride to the facility will take two hours as you move the physical atoms of your biological body to a new location in the physical universe. Travel in the Vertebrane world is, of course, instantaneous, so this aspect of the physical world will be particularly grating. You will use the travel time to connect back into the Vertebrane World.

photo by Patrick Hermans
Upon arrival at your destination, you will walk in the door of the facility, sign the final paperwork and walk into the examination room. Your physical body will be anesthetized for the procedure, a relatively simple and routine one that will remove your brain from your skull. In the process, your brain will be attached to appropriate life support systems, encased in a protective liquid-filled chamber about the size of a two-liter soda bottle, and connected to a permanent Vertebrane system provided by the facility. Your brain will be housed in a highly secure, sterile and protected building where it is safe from the risk factors created by your biological body.

After the transfer is complete, your brain will awaken from the anesthesia and you will find yourself back in your virtual world. You will continue your life in your virtual body, enjoying your virtual existence just as you were doing when your brain was housed in a biological body. However, your brain will now be in one of the safest places on earth, and it will be able to live far longer than it ever could have inside a biological body.

The Brain Storage Facility will throw your biological body in an incinerator. You will discard your biological body quite happily, and it will not seem like a loss at all. It will be a relief. Discarding your body will be the smart, logical and obvious thing to do.

<<< Go to Chapter 13     |     Intro     |     Go to Chapter 15 >>>

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See Also

How to make a million dollars

The Teenager's Guide
to the Real World

by Marshall Brain
(20 free chapters online)

Making money with web sites

Robotic Nation

Manna

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